The City of Perth is using life-size dummy trams to highlight its concerns over plans to put light rail tracks through the Hay and Murray street malls.

A pre-election promise, the $8 billion max light rail project is due to be completed by 2019 connecting Mirrabooka in the north to the CBD before extending to either the QEII medical centre in the west or Victoria Park station in the east.

Perth's Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi says she supports light rail but not through the middle of the pedestrian malls.

"We don't want to see light rail obliterating the pedestrian amenity of our city," said Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi.

"To put light rail into our malls will kill the 40 year heritage we have established in our city.

"Hay Street and Murray Street are the two pedestrianised streets in our city and to sabotage them by putting light rail in them would really undermine those walking qualities in that part of the city.

"I believe this is traffic planning being done by traffic planners who see the malls as streets and they want to reclaim them for that purpose."

She says the aesthetics of the mall would suffer with trees, lamp posts, statues and entrance ways into shopping centres needing alterations which could force the government to defer its plans.

"Given the expense of this, I believe it will probably be delivered only to Kings Square and we would see the western and eastern routes probably a part of a future project brief," Ms Scaffidi said.

If the plan does go ahead, it wouldn't be the first time trams ran through the City. The last time was in the 1950s before the malls were pedestrianised.

The ABC understands that the Department of Transport has been conducting surveys in the area over the last few days where it has found overwhelming opposition.

Local jeweller Peter Greene is leading a campaign by businesses to ensure trams don't disrupt the malls.

"I think it is an absolute disaster," he said.

"I can't honestly see the logic of it. I can't see any reasoning behind it and every person I have spoken to and I know most of the people who operate in the malls, no one can understand why they would want to take a thoroughfare which is there for the people with the seats and the spaces and put a light rail down the middle."

Pharmacist Michael Rollings agrees.

"You know I can't understand why we have spent so much money sinking the railway line between Perth and Northbridge and we are going to do exactly the opposite in Hay Street mall, it just seems crazy," he said.

While the Transport Minister Troy Buswell is on a light rail research tour around europe, he has left the talking to the Director General of Transport, Reese Waldock.

"There's been enough misinformation to confuse people," he said.

"I am here to ensure we have a rigorous and exhaustive process of determination.

"They work very well in Europe throughout constrained malls."

Mr Waldock is concerned about the City's campaign against light rail in the malls.

"When I see drawings of St George's Terrace with no cars for light rail, when I see descriptions of light rail through malls, I don't think that represents the full picture and I do think we need to represent the full picture."

If Mr Buswell decides not to proceed with light rail through the malls the other option which is preferred by the City of Perth is through St George's Terrace.

"We are very supportive of the light rail as a sustainable form of transport for volumes of people into the future and we would welcome it but the preferred route which is along William Street and around St Georges Terrace," Ms Scaffidi said.

Sustainable Policy Researcher Jemma Green says there is a better route through the CBD which has been ruled out by the government.

"Wellington Street connects to the heavy rail of the Perth Train Station, McIver and also Claisebrook and as it is closer to Northbridge and East Perth you would get a lot more people using the train and servicing those areas," she said.

With a number of differing opinions, there is one thing local councils, business and policy experts can agree on, the decision shouldn't be rushed.

It's a sentiment echoed by the State Opposition's Transport spokesman Ken Travers.

"It is impossible to decide what is the best option at this stage," he said.

"I think the Hay Street Mall is a very poor option but as to what is the best option, we need to develop that long term vision, understand how the city will function in 50 to 100 years time and then develop a complete network that includes east-west and north-south connections through the city."

But for all the debate, none of the stakeholders oppose light rail and Jemma Green believes the discourse demonstrates how Perth is developing.

"Light rail shows a commitment to a city growing, puts a more permanent public transport in and it allows land use planning to really be optimised," she said.